Thursday, April 10, 2008

'There's a fly in my soup!'

Week 3- The task this week was to convert a pub, which had never served food before, into a restaurant. This was a task which required proper planning, and 'facts, facts, facts,' as Simon said. Sir Alan chose Sara to project manage Alpha and Ian to lead Renaissance. There was a reversal of the situation this week as the girls did their homework whereas the boys plucked prices out of thin air.
The girls chose a Bollywood theme and Sara led the team well, despite some needless arguments from Claire. Although they missed lunch because the korma did not pass the taste test, selling tickets for £5 helped to bring in the cash. They also had an 'authentic' Bollywood dancer, although Nick did not look too impressed with his talents.
The boys went for an Italian theme and things went from bad to worse. Kevin was appointed Head Chef, for the sole reason that he had eaten in Italian restaurants before. Though he was a bank manager he failed to correctly calculate the number of tomatoes needed for 15 bowls of soup. He even struggled to minus 4 from 15. His carbonara contained ham, bacon and chicken, with potatoes, mushrooms...and basically anything else in the kitchen. He seemed to dominate over Ian and yelled at Alex, simply because 'that's what chefs do'.
Their lack of organisation resulted in a huge amount of overspending- and three trips to the supermarket. Tempers were fraying as the marketing group were sent to buy black bags and tin openers. The entire situation was summed up thus: 'I, Lee McQueen, am concerned.' Other failures included tasteless bolognese, not being able to spell 'accent', half pizzas and Michael's singing- another story altogether.
Unsurprisingly, the boys lost. Although they managed to bring in more money, their overspend let them down. And so, the end of the episode found Ian, Kevin and Simon in the firing line. Simon fought hard to prove that he was more than just 'chopper Smith', whilst Kevin and Ian couldn't decide whether there had been a pep-talk or not! Simon was let off the hook, but will have to tread carefully especially after forgetting the 'sir' in front of 'Sir Alan'! Eventually, Ian had to go. He was a weak manager and although Kevin had his faults, ultimately Ian was to blame. If we were in Sir Alan's position, we would probably have fired both of them.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Week 2- Dirty Linen or Dirty Tactics?

The second episode of The Apprentice proved to be a reversal for Renaissance. The task this week was to find, wash, dry and iron dirty laundry within twenty four hours. The moment Raef volunteered himself to be project manager, after having admitted last week that he had never managed more than himself, we thought the boys' team were doomed to failure. However as Jenny, the project manager of Alpha, began to show her true colours we realised that it was actually the girls who were in trouble.
Raef led his team well - he listened without interruption and delegated appropriate roles. He even acted quite selfishly to secure victory by locking up the house irons and refusing point blank to share them. Simon shone in this episode, having previously worked in a laundrette in Bosnia! He kept team morale high and did not lose faith in Raef. In fact the boys praised Raef so highly in the Boardroom that even Sir Alan was lost for words and for a few seconds could only muster 'Oh! Oh!'
In Alpha, however, it was a different story. They got off to a disastrous start, when Jenny lectured them for an hour on what they already knew. By the time they left the house, they had not come up with any strategy, nor even decided upon the teams into which they would split. Poor Lucinda was thrown from car to car! They could not even agree on what time of day it was, as Claire greeted a potential customer with 'Good Morning', while Lucinda said 'Good Afternoon'! This was followed by Jenny M and Lindi's attempt to wash a thousand items from a hotel for almost £5000 - compared to the £200 the manager usually paid. Swinging from one extreme to the other they then offered a man to do all his laundry for a mere £15 - compared to the usual £60...and they still couldn't tell if it was too high or too low.
Jenny was one of the worst project managers we have ever seen. Having failed to come up with a plan, she resorted to taking out her frustration on other innocent members of the team. Lucinda was once more her target - 'You're like a fungus spreading its negativity through the team.' Needless to say the scene ended in tears and Lucinda refused to attend the next group meeting.
The girls lost by around £200. This week's most ridiculous decision came from Lindi - a 24-hour hotline to see, as Sir Alan eloquently put it, 'How my pants were doing'. Following this we thought Jenny would take Lindi into the Boardroom, but instead she took the relatively innocent Lucinda and Shazia. We felt certain that Jenny would 'get the big F' or even perhaps Lucinda, but much to our surprise and disappointment it was Shazia who caught the taxi home. Once again, we disagree with Sir Alan's decision. Jenny blatantly lied to escape from the firing line, claiming that she had felt like she was 'breast-feeding' Lucinda and Shazia throughout the task. Seeing Sir Alan's expression at these words we were convinced that he would fire her. However she got away, but it will be interesting to see how far she goes.